The full roll out of Universal Credit has been pushed back to 2023 giving government time to implement a series of changes to the ‘reform’.
In a written statement to the Commons, Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, announcing four additions to the way UC was expected to work.
To support the transition for those claimants living alone with substantial care needs and receiving the Severe Disability Premium, the change is intended to ensure such claimants won’t be moved to UC until they qualify for transitional protection.
An on-going payment to claimants who have already lost this Premium as a consequence of moving will be provided, and an additional payment to cover the period since they moved.
McVey also confirmed an intention to increase the incentives for parents to take short-term or temporary work and increase their earnings by ensuring that the award of, or increase in, support for childcare costs will not erode transitional protection.
Claimants could also be re-awarded transitional protection that ceased due to short-term increases in earnings within an assessment period – but only if they make a new claim to UC within three months of when they received the additional payment.
Finally, individuals with capital in excess of £16,000 are not eligible for UC.
However, for Tax Credit claimants in this situation, the new measures will now disregard any capital in excess of £16,000 for 12 months from the point at which they are moved to UC – with normal benefit rules apply after this time allowing a balance between keeping incentives for saving and asking people to support themselves.
McVey confirmed that the e process of migrating claimants on legacy benefits will begin in July next year as previously announced.
But, in order to make the changes to the system, it would, she said, be necessary to extend the completion of UC to March 2023.
“As throughout UC roll out, we will keep the exact timetable under review to do what is sensible from a delivery and fiscal perspective,” said McVey.
The changes are to be incorporated will form part of the UC Managed Migration and Transitional Protection Regulations expected to be announced in the autumn.